BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Cain, I-- I just have to ask you. What is the point of that, having a man smoke a cigarette in a television commercial for you?This is a journalistic interview with a frontrunning presidential candidate? What an embarrassment. Too bad Herman Cain had to refrain from telling Schieffer he ought to take personal responsibility for the habits he indulged in that made him sick. Can you believe how long Schieffer belabored the subject?
HERMAN CAIN: One of the themes within this campaign is let Herman be Herman. Mark Block is a smoker, and we say let Mark be Mark. That's all we're trying to say because we believe let people be people. He doesn't deny that he's a smoker. This isn't trying to--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Are you a smoker?
HERMAN CAIN: No, I'm not a smoker. But I don't have a problem if that's his choice. So let Herman be Herman. Let Mark be Mark. Let people be people. This wasn't intended to send any subliminal signal whatsoever.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But it does. It sends a signal that it's cool to smoke.
HERMAN CAIN: No, it does not. Mark Block smokes. That's all that ad says. We weren't trying to say it's cool to smoke. You have a lot of people in this country that smoke but what I respect about Mark as a smoker, who is my chief of staff, he never smokes around me or smokes around anyone else. He goes outside.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But he smokes on television.
HERMAN CAIN: Well, he smokes on television. But that was no other subliminal message.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Was it meant to be funny?
HERMAN CAIN: It was meant to be informative, if they listen to the message where he said, "America has never seen a candidate like Herman Cain." That was the main point of it. And the-- the bit on the end, we didn't know whether it was going to be funny to some people or whether they were going to ignore it--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well--
HERMAN CAIN: --or whatever the case may be.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --let me just tell you, it's not funny to me.
HERMAN CAIN: Okay.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I am a cancer survivor--
HERMAN CAIN: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --like you.
HERMAN CAIN: I am also.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I had cancer that's smoking related.
HERMAN CAIN: Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I don't think it serves the country well. And this is an editorial opinion here, to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. And-- and you are the front-runner now. And it seems to me as front-runner, you would have a responsibility, not to take that kind of a tone in this. I would suggest that perhaps, as the front-runner, you'd want to raise the level of the campaign.
HERMAN CAIN: We will do that, Bob. And I do respect your objection to the ad. And probably about thirty percent of the feedback was very similar to yours. It was not intended to offend anyone. And being a cancer-- being a cancer survivor myself, I am sensitive to that sort of thing.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Would you take the ad down?
HERMAN CAIN: Well, it's on the internet. We didn't run it on TV. And once--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well, why don't you--
HERMAN CAIN: Once--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --take it off the internet?
HERMAN CAIN: It's impossible to do now. Once you put it on the internet, it goes viral. We could take it off of our website but there are other sites that have already picked it up. It's nearly impossible to-- to erase that ad from the internet.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Have-- have you ever thought of just saying to young people, don't smoke? Four hundred thousand people in America die every year--
HERMAN CAIN (overlapping): I--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --from smoking related.
HERMAN CAIN: I will have no problem saying that. And matter of fact--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well, say it right now.
HERMAN CAIN: Young people of America, all people, do not smoke. It is hazardous and it's dangerous to your health. Don't smoke. I've-- I've never smoked and I have encouraged people not to smoke. So, I don't--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): And it's not a cool thing to do.
HERMAN CAIN: It is not a cool thing to do. And that's-- that's not what I was trying to say. Smoking is not a cool thing to do.
October 30, 2011
Bob Schieffer could not restrain himself within the role of journalist today. It was pretty ridiculous: